Written by Lauren Vickers - @laurenkvickers
If last year was a bit of a curveball for you, don’t worry. We’ve all become extremely resilient in the last year, in all aspects of our life that we never imagined we’d need to! It’s a pretty safe bet that most of us embraced home workouts during lockdown, and found that regular movement helped with not only our physical strength, but also our mental strength. In a time when the world feels a little topsy-turvy, sometimes it’s nice to give yourself the most normal 30-45 minutes of your day with a regular workout routine that leaves you feeling strong, energised and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
Here are six of my favourite bodyweight moves - inspired by Ella Baché’s new Defence+ range - that can be done anytime, anywhere that help promote strength and resilience in your body, and will give you a nice post-workout boost of endorphins too!
Ideally, you’ll need an exercise mat and either a chair, bench, step or couch. You can add a resistance band or dumbbell to progress some of the moves if you need to, but this is entirely optional. Go slow and steady for the first few reps while you make that mind-muscle connection, and build up the intensity with a little speed, by adding a pause or even slowing the movement right down to a 2-0-2 tempo to accentuate the muscle contraction.
For a 30-40 minute sweat session I like to try 40 seconds on, 20 seconds off, 2 sets of each exercise and 3 laps of the exercise sequence.
1. World’s Greatest Stretch
Start standing and hinge at your hips until your hands touch the floor - if you need to bend your knees a little, that’s okay. Walk forward through your hands and come to a high plank position. Step one leg to the outside of your hands and open up towards the inside of the leg as your twist, raising your hand to the sky. Hold for a couple of seconds, step the leg back and walk your hands back in, come to standing - repeat on the other side and continue alternating for the 40 second interval.
2. Split Squat
Start with your feet hip width apart and step one leg back with your foot resting on a bench, chair, step or the couch. Keeping your weight in your front leg, lower into a lunge and squeeze the glutes to come back to the upright position. Keeping the core tight will help with balance. Do one set on one leg, and then switch for the next set. You can progress this move with a dumbbell held in a goblet position.
3. Tricep Dip
Stand facing away from your bench/chair and put your hands on the edge behind you. Keeping control through your triceps, lower your body down a few inches, and then squeeze to come back up, keeping your elbows in line with your hands.
4. Banded Squat
Step your feet to hip width apart and send your hips back and down to a comfortable range. Squeeze the glutes as you come back to standing. Use a dumbbell or add a band around your knees or ankles for a little extra resistance.
5. Glute Bridge with Leg Raise
Lie on your back with knees bent and palms placed beside you on the floor. Squeeze the glutes to raise the hips, lift one knee to tabletop and then straighten, keeping your hips level. Lower the leg and repeat on the other side.
6. Heel Taps
Stay lying on your back, bring your chin towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades slightly off the floor. Rock steadily from side to side, contracting your obliques and tapping your heels with your hands. Keep the core braced to keep your lower back in contact with the floor, and prevent the belly from doming.